Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Went to Disney World!
Usually when I go on vacation I bring the computer and try to post in the morning before we go sightseeing and at night before I go to bed but I knew that I wouldn't have access to the Internet this trip since we were staying in a condo, so I decided not even to try to find hot spots or spend $10 an hour for the Internet. I decided to take a break and enjoy my down time. It's been a very busy year and it was time to just forget about everything and do something completely different. And Disney World is certainly completely different :-)
It was a very busy vacation. We left for the parks around 9:15 AM and returned between 10-11 PM. We spent the entire day there for 5 days. We had park hoppers so we could go to more than one of the parks which we did on Sunday and Friday. We took Wednesday off and went shopping at Downtown Disney, which I'm glad we did since we barely had time to shop at the parks.
The Lord blessed us with perfect weather, it was in the 80's the entire week we were down there. In fact it was hotter here than it was there. He also blessed us with short lines :-) The longest we waited for a ride was half an hour. For some of the rides we were able to walk right on. It was the perfect time to go. The only time we had crowds was Friday night at Magic Kingdom. I figured that would be the case but we decided that we couldn't take the parks anymore and needed a break on Wednesday.
On Sunday we went to the Animal Kingdom. Here's a shot of the tree of life or whatever it's called.
Click on the photo and you can see the animal carvings in the trunk. The tree is where they show the 3-D Bugs Life movie. I finally got to see it this trip, last time my daughters started to cry when they were squirted with water (Samantha still refuses to go see it -- I think she was traumatized for life) and they were really hysterical by the time the bugs farted. I had to try to find my way out of a darkened theater with two crying children and all kinds of special effects going off around me. Having seen the whole thing now, I'm really glad that we left when we did because Samantha would never have gone on another ride if she had been attacked by the spiders and being "stung" by the hornet.
We also went on the Safari ride. I love seeing the wild animals but it was really hard to take shoots in a moving (and bouncing) vehicle. Here are some of my better shots:
We went over to Magic Kingdom and had dinner and went on a number of the rides. Almost no wait for any of the rides. It was great. We saw the fireworks from the bridge near Tomorrow Land, we almost missed them because I was more concerned with getting on as many rides as possible since I feared that the next day would be spent standing in line.
On Monday we spent the day at Magic Kingdom and had dinner at the Liberty Inn which has excellent food and some of the Disney characters come over to the table and interact with the guests. It is so much easier to get a picture with Goofy, Chip (or Dale, I keep forgetting who it was), Minnie Mouse and Pluto. They kept coming over to our table and putting on my daughter's hat. It was pretty funny.
Goofy came and sat at our table when he made two little kids cry at the next table.
That's Samantha trying to comfort him.
Here are some shots of the refurbished It's A Small World ride:
Last time we went on this ride, Samantha threw up in the water. Needless to say the ride was less eventful this time :-)
Here's the obligatory shot of Cinderella's castle:
We stayed to see the electric light parade. There was really no place to stand and the people we were standing next to were annoying. I didn't really enjoy it at all and was glad when it was over.
On Tuesday we went to Epcot. If you go, make sure you do the Soarin ride, it was so much fun. It simulates being in a hang glider over the state of California, so you see some beautiful aerial shots of California. You feel the wind in your hair and smell the scent of pine trees and orange trees. It really was a neat experience. Another fun ride is Mission:Space. It had two tracks: a wimpy track and the more adventurous track. Samantha and I did the wimpy track because I'm prone to motion sickness but my husband and Sarah went of the more adventurous ride and he said that it felt like you experienced g-force. Avoid the The Seas with Nemo & Friends ride if you don't have really small children but make sure you see Turtle Talk with Crush -- he's the turtle from Finding Nemo. It's funny and it's amazing because the cartoon interacts with the audience, really cool when you think about the technology used to make that happen -- I loved it and so did my daughters.
The fireworks at Epcot are nice and if you go, get a seat in Italy by the water. There's a little platform area that you can get a good view of the fireworks and the globe.
Here are some of the shots I got of the park:
On Wednesday we had lunch at the Earl of Sandwich which has a very nice BLT and strawberry shortcake. Make sure you go to Downtown Disney to do your shopping when you go to Disney World. That way you don't have to schlep your purchases through the park with you. They have some of the stuff that they have in the parks. It's amazing to me the variety of stuff you can buy at these shops. I went from shop to shop in the different parks and I always found something new that I hadn't seen in the other shops.
On Thursday we went to the Disney-MGM Studio park and I have to say that it was my lest favorite park since it was the most stressful of the parks. They start the shows late and they have conflicting times for the shows. We had a dinner reservation at one of the restaurants and then we were going to see the Mickey Fantasmic show which meant that we had to finish the rides and shows early. If we made a misstep (which we did) we would miss something. There were three main shows that we wanted to see: the Indiana Jones stunt show, the driving stunt show and Beauty and the Beast. Samantha, my mom-in-law and I went to see the Muppets 3-D movie and Doug took Sarah to the rock and roll roller coaster. Big mistake because they missed the first showing of the Indiana Jones stunt show and Sarah had to choose between the Indiana Jones show and Beauty and the Beast. Very annoying!
Loved the stunt shows and the backlot tour. Thought the Narnia attraction was a big waste of time. The Beauty and the Beast show was well done. Here's a little video of part of a song (I was trying to conserve my chip space :-)
The Fantasmic show was one of the best light shows in Disney World, it was really beautifully done and well worth the effort to see it.
On our last day at the parks we decided to go to three parks and really use that park hopper ticket. We went back to the Animal Kingdom so that Sarah could go on the Everest ride, she decided after the rock and roll roller coaster to give it a try. She liked it. Here's a shot of it from the Africa part of the park:
Here's a close up shot:
Samantha, my mom-in-law and I went to on the Safari ride again. I sat on the other side of the car and took these shots:
Click on it. Notice anything hiding in the trees?
We did a little shopping and then went to Magic Kingdom and took the monorail to Epcot. Had lunch at the Rose & Crown (which was amazing given the fact that we didn't have a reservation). I had bangers and mash which was very good. I thought the sausage was going to be heavy but it wasn't. Here's a shot of my lunch, doesn't it look yummy?
We went shopping and I fell in love with the Japanese store, it was very cute. They had beautiful kimonos , cute change purses, lovely tote bags, a Hello Kitty section and a Pokemon section. Plus many other products from Japan. They even had a pick your own oyster to get a black pearl. Samantha loved this and was tempted to get one.
Here are some shots I got from Epcot.
After shopping we took the boat to Future World and then the monorail back to Magic Kingdom which was a little crowded. We saw the Hall of Presidents show and I cheered for Reagan. The Bush robot was weird -- it's head looked too small for it's body. We got to see the light parade again but this time in Liberty Square which is a much better place to view it -- not as crowded.
As you can probably guess from this schedule we were pretty exhausted by the end of the week. There was so much to do and not a lot of time to do it in. I'm so glad that on some of the rides we were able to just walk on or had a short wait. For longer waits, we used fast pass which is a really helpful and time saving way to enjoy the park. The Soarin ride was an hour wait and we were able to walk on. The Peter Pan ride was also an hour and we were able to walk on that one as well (which is good because I wouldn't want to wait an hour for a ride that was that short).
But I was very busy and took a lot of pictures and the post I'm writing it very long. Still working on it. Hopefully it will be up tomorrow.
Monday, May 28, 2007
I couldn't get the XML K2 to work properly (the sidebar widgets kept falling for some reason) so I chose this template and changed the colors. I kind of like it, though I miss the K2. The only problem I'm having now is that the title won't display under Internet Explorer and I'm not sure if I want to spend hours figuring it out.
I'm thankful to live in a country where men and women are willing to sacrifice their life to protect our freedoms. We don't deserve their sacrifice but I'm thankful they made it. May we spend the day appreciating what they have given up to serve our nation and to be thankful that they believed that this nation was worthy of the sacrifice of their life.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
I got back yesterday but was really busy trying to catch up on my email. It wasn't as much as I thought it was going to be but I had left my inbox in such a mess that I think it will take me a week to dig out from under the pile of emails!
I plan to blog about what I did during my blogging break later today. It's going to take me awhile to write the post because I was really busy. Let's just say that I didn't really rest and I'm a little exhausted from my week long activity.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
As you probably can understand, I've had a very busy year! Between blogging, blogrolls, writing and leading a Bible study, writing exegesis papers and digests, schleping my kids back and forth to school, studying for midterms, finals, Greek exams, Hebrew quizzes, etc., etc., etc.
So, I'm taking a break and relaxing. No Internet, no email, no blogrolls, no blogs and now that my semester has ended, no seminary work. Just being a mom and enjoying life.
I will see you in a week!
Friday, May 18, 2007
Any parent of a teenage girl knows that it's almost impossible to buy anything for them to wear that doesn't look like they have taken up a career in prostitution. The clothes are low-cut, tight, thin and revealing. People may wonder why Christian moms let their kids dress like that for church but it may be that they shopped for hours and that was the most modest thing they could find.
Well, now there's a decent alternative. Christa Taylor has started a new line of trendy and modest clothing for teenage girls. And it does live up to it's name. The clothes are similar to what you would find in the junior department of the store without being low-cut and cheap looking. They have some really nice choices. The prices are reasonable, too.
The only problem I had with the line is that the swimwear wasn't trendy at all, in fact it looked like it was from their 20's (maybe it was retro). I was assured that they would be adding to the collection when I asked them about it. I hope that they can come up with a decent solution to the problem of modest swimwear because I'm not mean enough to make my daughter wear that to the beach or pool.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
And it went well. I was able to answer the questions. Whether the answers were good enough I have no idea. I'm just glad to be done.
I had a very bad week studying for my final since the material we had to read was written so poorly. Vos and Ridderbos are brilliant theologians but their books are hard to get through. Vos is vague and it's hard to get his point. Ridderbos is repetitive and he drones on and on. He needed to be edited and I'm afraid that his translators won't do that because of their respect for his words.
Since I spent so much of my study time reading, I didn't spend enough time memorizing the specific passages that Gaffin focused on in class. And of course what was the focus of the test? The class notes. Taking finals drives me nuts!
One of the things that I'm frustrated about is that as seminary is getting harder and I'm getting older, it's becoming harder for me to persevere and I'm tempted to quit. I panicked the night before the test and wanted to just give up, walk away from seminary and just throw it all away but knew God wouldn't let me. I know that he has called me to this task and he will equip me for it. Every time I'm sure that I'm going to fail a test, he reassures me and the test is much easier than I thought it would be. I feel the weight of my unfaithfulness after each test. He is faithful but I am not. I know that he is teaching me to put my trust in him and not to lean on my own understand and yet I refuse to do it.
I'm stubborn, like my girls when I would try to feed them and they took the spoon out of my hand and wanted to feed themselves. They weren't ready and made a mess with the food but they wanted their independence. They wanted to be in control. They would have rather made the mess than get assistance from me even though it meant they were still hungry when they were done. It's time for me to get that I need to trust God to provide for my needs and he desires for me to continue learning his word from these wonderful men of God (even though they torture me each semester with the works of brilliant theologians who really should have hired a ghost writer).
I know and understand the lessons from Israel at the Red Sea -- that Israel watched as the Lord saved them (Exodus 14:13). I know and understand the lessons from Gideon and how God kept reducing the size of Gideon's army to demonstrate that their salvation was from the Lord. I get the lesson from Jericho that the battle belongs to the Lord. Yet, why can't it penetrate my heart that the Lord can work the same way in me that he did for Israel? And put my trust in him knowing that he has done it time and again throughout my seminary career.
Maybe this lesson has penetrated my heart and I will trust the Lord. Maybe. We will see in the fall when I have to take Ancient Church and the Epistles and Revelation.
I posted the video of Hitchens attack of Jerry Falwell. If you haven't seen it, go do so now. It is amazing the level of vitriol and hatred he heaps on the memory of Falwell and on Christians in general.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Posted by michele at Sunday, May 13, 2007
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
"I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once."
I remodeled Reformed Chicks. This blog will have to wait until Memorial Day weekend. Just too busy until then. I did find a template, this one. You should notice some similarity I think I'm going to keep the tabs this time.
Well, I'm off to read the Paul and Jesus chapter Machen's The Origin of Paul's Religion (I was going to link to Westminster's bookstore but they don't have the book which is shocking considering the fact that he is the founder of the seminary).
Please pray that I can concentrate on all the material I have to read for the final and that I can remember it.
Posted by michele at Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Here is a video that quotes some of the leading men in the church (and Pat Buchanan) and their views on women. The video is a response to the views of these men:
I think that this response is the wrong response. Obviously these men of the church were looking at the role of women, not from a biblical perspective but one colored by their culture and the norms of their society. A response to this should not be a visual and manipulative use of images of young women and the words of feminists. Our response would be more powerful and have lasting impact if we can demonstrate from the word of God that men and women, though having different gifts are equal in the sight of God and that the role of women in the church is far more than bearing covenant children.
Nowhere in the New Testament does it say that this is the sole role for women of the church and if it were then there would be many women who would not be fulfilling their role since there are many women in the church who are not married. And it would be strange for Paul to encourage Christians not to marry (1 Corinthians 7:8) if women only had this one role.
It is arrogant for men to assume that they have a superior role in the church and look down on the gifts that women can offer. I believe that the Scripture excludes women from only one role in the church and that is elder (in the Presbyterian church the pastor is considered a teaching elder, the is run by him and the ruling elders). Everything else is open to them, anything that the laity can do they can do.
And if men doubt that women in the church share an equal status, they only have to read this verse to remind them how God views his church:
And if we want an example of the roles of women in the early church we have many: they were prophets (Acts 21:8-9), servants (deacons) of the church (Romans 16:1) and it was in some of their homes that Christians met (Acts 12:12).Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Let us not allow our brothers in Christ to fall into the sin of pride and arrogance by allowing them to limit our role in the church. Let us call them to repentance and love and help them to see that they are not above the body but part of it and that includes women. Let's help them to see that the priesthood of believers includes women as well (1 Peter 2:5). Let us be like Priscilla when she saw that Apollos was incorrect in his teaching of the "way of God," went with her husband to correct him. Let us do the same with those in the church who don't understand the truth that is so clearly evident in Scriptures. Women stand before God united with their brothers in Christ, none are superior, so we don't have to demand our rights but it is necessary for the benefit of our brothers to make sure they understand the word of God and aren't misrepresenting it to others.